Wildfires raging across the Grecian coast of the Gulf of Corinth have led to evacuations in at least six villages. Overnight Wednesday, the raging fires forced hundreds from their homes and even spurred an evacuation from two monasteries.
According to reports from the area, over 180 firefighters are being supported by twenty aircraft, including planes and helicopters, as they fight to control the conflagration.
Reports indicate that there is no confirmation of any casualties from the fires. Greek authorities have suggested that the region of the Gulf of Corinth on the mainland is mainly populated by summer homes, making the destruction of property more likely in the region than the loss of life. Strong winds continue to spur the flames throughout the day Thursday, with firefighters working tirelessly to stop the spread of the blazes.
Greece is no stranger to wildfires. The region has a hot, arid climate, with summer temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. The proliferation of dry vegetation is a necessary consequence of the region’s rocky, dry soil and harsh conditions. This makes it very easy for wildfires to spread in the spring and summer months, with the persistent winds carrying embers across the countryside.
In 2018, one of the deadliest wildfires in Greek history brushed the resort city of Mati. The blaze claimed over one hundred lives and brushed uncomfortably close to Athens: Mati is only 30 kilometers northeast of the capital.
Just last August, another wildfire threatened Mycenae, one of the most distinctive structures from ancient Greek history. While that blaze glanced off of the Mycenae, it thankfully caused no damage to the historically noteworthy structure.
Authorities have confirmed that the evacuations from the region north of Corinth are being ordered out of an abundance of caution. Since this is the first major wildfire of 2021, authorities are working to contain it quickly and prevent the loss of life.
Power to the region has been preemptively cut off. That way, downed power lines or blown transformers don’t spur on further flames. The lack of power shouldn’t affect any residents of the region, as they’ve all been ordered to evacuate.
As Greece prepares for what they hope is a very successful tourism season in 2021, the presence of wildfires presents just one more barrier to getting tourists into the country. While 2020 was a rough year, Greece is hoping that 2021 gives them at least a momentary break from natural disasters.